August 08, 2021
Use of seclusion denial of Maori principles
The Chief Ombudsman is calling for a change in the way seclusion is used in mental health units.
Peter Boshier detected what he’s calling disproportionate treatment of Māori during an unannounced inspection of Whanganui District Health Board’s Te Awhina acute month unit last September.
He found while only 46 per cent of tangata whaiora in the unit were Māori, Māori accounted for 90 per cent of those put into seclusion.
Despite having a Māori name the unit wasn’t operating in te ao Māori or according to tikanga, and neither the DHB nor the Ministry of Health are being good stewards of mental health services for Māori.
“Things so vital and important to Māori such as Papatuanuku, Ranginui, the sky, the sea, the trees, the land and stimulation is what te ao Māori world turns on and here in a destimulation, seclusion room, there is no stimulation, there is nothing, there is no connection with the world or with whānau,” Mr Boshier says.
He says cultural change is needed.
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